Amid the record unemployment rates of the pandemic, Brookings-affiliated scholars review the evidence for stackable credentials as a pathway to employment, especially for those who lack the flexibility to undertake long-term training or degree programs. This approach generally entails earning a shortterm certificate that can be put to work immediately, then returning to use some of those certificate credentials to begin an associate degree. Using data from the community college system of Virginia, the authors find that students who stacked their credentials were more likely to be employed (by 4 percentage points) and had higher quarterly wages (by 7 percent) than their non-stacking counterparts. Stacking credentials in health or business fields yielded the best payoffs. The authors encourage policy and philanthropic support for these pathways as a mechanism for recovering pandemic-era employment losses. #olderyouth #workforce
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